why do we shrink as we get older

It is a strange fact of life that although our noses keep growing as we age, we also start shrinking. The older we get, the shorter most of us become. In fact it is estimated that during every decade after the age of 40, people generally lose - an inch, an amount that increases every decade. Unfortunately, women tend to also lose more height than men, and are more prone to bone conditions like osteoporosis. The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging discovered that women lost, on average, 2 inches between the ages of 30 and 70, and over 3 inches by the age of 80, while men lost just over an inch by the time they turned 70, and 2 inches by the time they hit the big 8-0. Why do we shrink as we age? We produce less of the hormones that help us to repair or replace cells [as we age]. This means our bones become weaker. Our vertebrae the bones that help keep us upright get compressed and rubbed all the time, so we might lose some of the actual bone. Our muscles and ligaments also get weaker, which adds to the effect, Dr David Green explained to the Guardian. The pressure on our spine to stay upright, even as the muscles around it become less effective, means discs between vertebrae can become flattened and the spaces between our joints becomes smaller. It s also the case that the arches in our feet flatten too, leading to further height loss.


Although shrinkage cannot be avoided completely, it is possible to slow the process and give your spinal column the best chance of being stronger and straighter for longer. 1. Top up your calcium levels
If you re over 50 the National Institute of Health recommends that you get 1,200 milligrams of calcium every day to keep your bones healthy and strong. Make sure you re getting that by drinking milk, eating a wide variety of fruit and veg, and taking additional vitamin supplements if necessary. 2. Work out Certain studies have found that people who exercise regularly during their younger years tend to lose half as much height as people who didn t. However, it s never too late to build muscle and strengthen your bones. Running, jumping and doing weights can all really make a difference. bts_videojs_iframe_container { position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56. 25%! important; margin-bottom: 15px; }. bts_videojs_iframe_container iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; border: 0px; } 3. Avoid bad habits Alcohol can inhibit your body from making the most of its calcium supplies, while smoking is bad for your overall health and can be particularly damaging to your bones. Cut down, or just stop if you can. 4.


Think posture Fixing your posture so you are not crumpling or straining you spine can also help you boost your height, and it will train your muscles to be long and strong in the process. Do you know how tall you are? Many people, especially older ones, think they re taller than they really are. Sometimes it s wishful think ing, but often it s lack of awareness of the shrinkage that almost always comes with aging. In a, for instance, researchers measured 8,600 women over 60 and found that they overestimated their height by an inch, on average, and had lost about 2 inches from their tallest recalled height. No one wants to shrink, of course, but it s a normal part of life if you live long enough. Here are five things to know about shrinkage and what you may be able to do to prevent it. How much do people shrink as they age? Estimates vary, but on average people lose to inch every decade after age 40 or 50, with losses increasing in later years, and women generally losing more than men. Research from the, for example, found that women lost an average of 2 inches between the ages of 30 and 70 (and just over 3 inches by age 80). Men lost a little more than 1 inch by age 70 (and 2 inches by 80). But averages hide wide variability: Some people lose an inch or more in a single decade, some shrink only after age 60 or 70, and a few don t shrink at all.


Why do we shrink? People lose height because the discs between the vertebrae in the spine dehydrate and compress. The aging spine can also become more curved, and vertebrae can collapse ( ) due to loss of bone density ( ). in the torso can also contribute to stooped posture. Even the gradual flattening of the arches of the feet can make you slightly shorter. Is losing height an indicator of health problems? It can be, which is one reason why your health care provider should measure your height, usually as part of a periodic health exam. Height loss is especially worrisome if it is largely the result of a compression fracture or other skeletal conditions. Such frac tures can cause back pain and limit mobility, though often there is no pain or other symptoms. And the same loss of muscle that con tributes to shrinkage can also contribute to back pain. Moreover, the greater the shrinkage, the greater the risk of hip and other non vertebral fractures. Several studies have found that people over 65 who lost at least 2 inches in the past 15 to 20 years were at signifi cantly higher risk for hip fracture than those who shrank less; one study found the increase in risk was greater in men. Loss of height can also be related to a host of metabolic and physiological changes that may have a negative impact on health.


Or height loss may simply be a marker for poor health in general or poor nutrition. But don t despair: Many people with markedly diminished stature remain perfectly healthy. Certainly, if you have any concerns about your loss of height, especially if you have, discuss this with your health care provider. What height should older people use to calculate their BMI current or maximum height? You should probably use your current height, but experts dis agree. , is a formula that evaluates weight relative to height, with higher results generally indicating more body fat. If you shrink and your weight stays the same, your BMI will go up, which may shift you from, say, the healthy weight category to overweight. Thus, a woman who is 5 foot 3 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds has a BMI of 26. 6, in the low-middle end of overweight, but if she shrinks to 5 feet tall and weighs the same, her BMI will increase to 29. 3 (obesity starts at 30). If older people shrink largely because of spinal compression and loss of bone and muscle but stay the same weight, then body fat must account for the difference so it makes sense that their BMI increases (along with waist circumference).

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